Thursday 25 December 2014

Botanists twig that deer are good for the forest

Press Association

Published 24/07/2014 | 02:30

Grazing deer in oak woodlands benefits diversity, say Trinity College scientists.
Grazing deer in oak woodlands benefits diversity, say Trinity College scientists.

Hungry deer should not be barred from protected native forests, botanists have declared.

A decades-long study of national parks in Ireland has found that grazing deer in oak woodlands is actually good for diversity and helps prevent some plants from taking over the valuable ecosystem.

Researchers found that if red and sika deer and the red-sika hybrid are fenced off, or shot in annual culls as a way of protecting the forest, it becomes significantly less diverse.

But botanists from the School of Natural Sciences in Trinity College Dublin have now warned that attempts to reintroduce deer should be in moderation as uncontrolled grazing will damage the woods.

Press Association

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